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Which FD-EOS Adapter to Buy

Ashish . , Jan 12, 2012; 04:01 a.m.

I am beginning to explore the FD lenses and need an FD lens to EOS camera adapter. I see the following kinds out there on ebay etc.:
1. Aluminium ones without glass element (small opening): My understanding is these won't allow infinity focus. I would like infinity focus so they are out of question.
2. Cheap glass elements allowing infinity focus (with smaller opening and glass element): my understanding is they will allow infinity focus but may not work for macro lenses.
3. Apparently there is a variation on #1 above that may work for macro lenses (larger opening), allowing for shorter focusing distances.
4. There is another type that has a glass element but allows that element to be removed if would like.
Could you guys please guide me or provide pointers to which one(s) should I be looking to buy. Currently, I may be looking to get a 200mm (macro), 400m and 50mm FD lenses.


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Jos van Eekelen , Jan 12, 2012; 05:14 a.m.

Search the archives. None of these adapters seem to be worth the trouble, exept perhaps the original Canon one but that one is very rare/difficult to find. Better look at EVIL/MILC for this purpose (Sony NEX and several offerings by Samsung,Panasonic, etc.).

Rick Janes , Jan 12, 2012; 07:46 a.m.

Search for the glass-less EdMika adapters- they are a recent development, with a very thin stack height and the ability for focus-confirmation on certain lenses. Its Canadian designers wanted infinity focus, and it is achievable on the longer FD super telephotos at least. I believe these EdMika products are machined from brass.

Craig Dickson , Jan 12, 2012; 07:48 a.m.

The flange to sensor distance on EOS cameras is greater than it was in FD cameras. This means that it is not possible to position an FD lens correctly for infinity focus on an EOS camera. This is why corrective optics are needed, but the optics in adapters are generally not high quality and will degrade the image. This is why using FD lenses on EOS cameras is not generally recommended. I have heard good things about the original Canon FD to EOS adapter, but it is rare and expensive at this point.

If you simply want to save money by buying manual focus super-telephoto lenses on the used market, you would be better off looking at some other line of lenses that don't require corrective optics on EOS cameras. Olympus OM lenses may be the best bet, since that system is obsolete. Nikon and Pentax lenses have tended to retain their value better, since at least some current Nikon and Pentax cameras are still backward-compatible with them.

If you really want to experiment with FD lenses, the best solution is an FD camera, but if you want to stick with digital, then a Sony NEX or Micro Four Thirds camera would be the way to go.

Jean-Bernard Fischer , Jan 12, 2012; 07:56 a.m.

Yes, not many people go the FD-EOS way today, as the EVIL way seems much nicer...
Having the Canon FD-EF adapter, it sure is good; it is on par with the x1.4 converters, being basically a x1.26 converter with a different mount on each side. But it does not work for short lenses, only for lenses from 200m on.
So if you are looking for 200 macro for macro work, a simple macro adapter without lens is OK.
For a 400mm, you would need the Canon adapter; There are several Canon adapter available on eBay, but they are quite expensive, over $1000 ! Your probably better of buying an EF 5.6/400!
And forget about the 50mm altogether: only physical adaptation of the lens is possible, and even then, may not be possible depending on the lens and body! I must say that I fail to see the interest for adapting a 50mm in the Canon FD range, apart maybe for a 50L or 55 Asph; which are the ones notorious difficult to adapt!

Mark Pierlot , Jan 12, 2012; 10:58 a.m.

I concur with the others, Ashish. Unless you're doing macro work, it's not worthwhile adapting FD lenses to EOS bodies.

I've got an adapter with removable elements for those rare occasions when I want to use one of my FD-mount macro lenses on one of my EOS bodies, but I've never even bothered trying to use the adapter with the elements for non-macro focusing distances. (I've got EF lenses for that.)

Rick, the Ed Mika adapters do sound very promising for FD super-telephotos. They are very thin, and exploit the fact that the focus rings of the lenses go a little beyond infinity. They also appear to be very well made, too.

Walter Degroot , Jan 12, 2012; 12:54 p.m.

In 1955 "what america needs is a good four speed transmission"
( I said I only comment on old things)
today what america ( and the world needs) is a good Full-frame FD compatible body"
IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. the sad part of it all is that even in cases such as Nikon and poentax film to digital
and to a smaller degree Minolta to sony. the lenses may fir and focus to infinity.
but the lack of other needed features makes the lenses LESS than useful/.
It is lokely that a "department store quality ef lens " if such a thing still existed, would be as good or better than using an adapter of unknown quality so you could use a "same brand" but incompatible lens on a digital canon.
I realize the lenses now cost as much an an old still running automobile.
But there is nothing we can do about that.

Craig Dickson , Jan 12, 2012; 01:16 p.m.

Walter, Minolta to Sony is no different at all from Canon's situation. Minolta switched from a mechanical lens control interface to a purely electronic one in the 1980s when they introduced autofocus. Canon did exactly the same thing at about the same time. Today's Sony DSLRs can use A-mount autofocus lenses from the film era, but cannot use the older manual-focus SR-mount lenses. Canon DSLRs can use EF-mount autofocus lenses from the film era, but cannot use the older manual-focus FD-mount lenses. So in terms of backward compatibility, Canon and Minolta/Sony are in exactly the same position for exactly the same reasons.

Nikon and Pentax have imperfect backward compatibility, but the main effect of this is to confuse users. Some Nikon DSLRs don't support some lenses, and you have to be pretty familiar with the details of a particular camera and a particular generation of lenses to know whether they'll work together or not (and what limitations you'll be stuck with -- for example, as far as I know, there is no Nikon DSLR that works in Program or shutter-priority mode with AI-S lenses). I am less familiar with modern Pentax equipment, but I gather their situation is similar to Nikon's.

Rick Janes , Jan 12, 2012; 02:29 p.m.

The EdMika adapters are a recent development, so if you haven't investigated these products then your information about infinity focusing FD lenses on EOS bodies is not up to date. His adapters currently work with longer FD telephotos (my FD 800/5.6L infinity focuses without removal of its focus stop) and he's designing more to accomodate other classic FD lenses.
I'm glad to see him doing the impossible.

Louis Meluso , Jan 12, 2012; 03:23 p.m.

I take the opposite view of the standard advice. I have the Bower adapter and it works just fine. Is it as good as a regular prime, no. So what! Photography isn't all about "IQ". It's a cheap way to use glass you already have. If you stop down 2-3 stops the image quality is not as bad as you might think. If you shoot near wide open you'll be treated to very creamy effects that are quite lovely and impressionistic. For the price, around $30, it's good to have if only for odd experimentation or special effects.

Here is a leaf shot with the FD 35-105 f/3.5 zoom and Bower adapter on a Digital EOS camera stopped down to f/8.

Red leaf at Sunset

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